Trayvon Martin, Paula Deen, Stop and Frisk and Assistant DA Raul Esparza? Dick Wolf was not kidding with this whole Law & Order/ripped from the headlines thing. Of course, if he wanted to be more accurate, the slogan would go "ripped from one headline, ripped from another headline, ripped from a third headline and then put in a blender with an added sprinkle of crazy," but maybe that's too clunky.
Last night's episode of SVU managed to combine so many hot-button current events (current=three months old) that it could make a gal's head spin. It began like all SVUs — with a serial rapist attacking women on the streets of New York. None of the rapist's victims are able to give a good description of him — all they know is that he's young, African American, wore a hoodie and would say "I know you want it" before committing his crime. (Is this a Robin Thicke reference? Let's assume it is.)
The spree leads the detectives to violate the constitutional rights of young black men all over the city by stopping and frisking them. Meanwhile, celebrity chef Jolene Castille (played by a comically evil Cybill Shepherd) shoots and kills 16-year-old African American named Mehcad Carter outside of her brownstone. She tells the detectives that the young man tried to attack her, that he's the rapist they're looking for and that she shot him in self-defense.
Unsurprisingly, it turns out that Mehcad was not the rapist and he was really just approaching Not Paula Deen for an autograph. The detectives then discover that Castille has a history of racism and quite possibly shot Mehcad solely because he was black. Assistant DA Barba asks them to dig around and find documented proof of Castille's prejudice, but, really, this is entirely unnecessary, seeing as Castille's racism is about as subtle as a hammer to the face.
The SVU team eventually takes her to trial, she says lots of racist things on the stand and is then found not guilty because "fear won out." Disappointed, the cops go back to frisking innocent black people. All in a day's work.